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Cook's Illustrated monthly web membership?

If you have the Cook's Illustrated monthly web membership for $3.95/ mo., do you think it is worth it? I mean, I know it's only $3.95, but do I really need access to it all the time or can I just get my information elsewhere for free like I've always done? I've signed up for the free 14-day membership trial, so if I don't sign up to pay, are there any recipes I need to get now? Just curious what your opinions are! Thanks!

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  1. KatieNell,

    I had the same thoughts as you. I started with the free trial and just kind of ended up with a membership for the last three months. I really like it. I have all my favorites saved, the lists the recipes generate are great. I would say that if you like CI recipes (hubby and I really do!!) then it's worth it. I find I'm using this rather than Epicurious. I have heard that it is very difficult to cancel anything with CI, but since I've been happy Idon't have any personal experience with that.


    1. I subscribe to both Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines. I was recently offered a one year subsciption of unlimited access to their on-line site, cooksillustrated.com for $19.95. As part of the deal, I received a Polder electronic watch, timer and stopwatch. It was a deal too good for me to pass up.

      I have used the site occasionally, and have found the in-depth recipes and methods very helpful, at times. However, if you subscribe to their magazines, the information is somewhat redundant.

      I believe the regular on-line subscription rate is $24.95 annually, at least for subscibers to their magazine(s). Considering that I subscibe to their magazines, and own their Family Cookbook, I may not re-subscribe to the on-line service. Their special offer was too good for me to pass up for one year.

      1. I keep telling myself that I'm going to go through the online archives and print out all the recipes I'm every likely to use and cancel my $24.95 a year subscription to the online version of CI. But I like having it be searchable, and paper really isn't, so I keep renewing every year, and my glorious plan to print it all out has gone nowhere.

        1. I actually don't subscribe to the magazine and I never have- I think I would mostly use the online version, so it would just be the $3.95 a month for me. I don't have any experience with their recipes either, so I was just curious what everyone's feelings were. Essentially, they got me, because I wanted their gnocchi recipe!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Katie Nell

            I like getting the magazines, because, well, I enjoy mail. But if I didn't have a magazine subscription there'd be zero doubt at all that I'd keep my online sub. I love Cook's Illustrated, and while the recipes can be a bit fussy, I've never, ever had one turn out badly.

          2. Keep track of how many times you use it, or how many times you feel it would truly be useful, in the 14 days of your free trial. If it turns out to be every other day or so, I'd keep it. Less than once a week? Maybe not.
            I have it and like it very much.

            1. I use my CooksIllustrated.com membership just about every time I cook. It's a tremendous resource even if you don't count the recipes. There's tons of info about technique, equipment, shortcuts/tips, etc.

              1. I subscribe to the paper version and was disappointed that I needed to pay an extra fee for theon-line edition. I would have thought that you should have access to the site if you subscribed to the mag.

                If I am wrong on this please let me know.


                3 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  I'm with you. I think your subscription should allow you access to the site as a perk. I still get CI but I don't visit the site.

                  1. re: cooknKate

                    I was a bit put off when I found out that my magazine subscription didn't get me on their site for free. I like the magazine, but I won't re-subscribe. If I did decide to continue with Cooks Illustrated I'd opt for the online site where I can get tons more information than I do in a magazine.

                  2. re: jfood

                    Right, I agree. Subscribe to the magazine, you should get the online site free. That's how it works with the NY Times, and if it's good enough for them... I don't subscribe to CI online because I don't see why I should have to.

                  3. I had a subscription to the online and let it lapse. I figured I would see just how much it frustrated me not to have it and let that be my guide (because I kept feeling as though I didn't use it often enough). Let me put it this way--I haven't re-upped. In the interests of full disclosure, however, in the interim my mother got a CI subscription, and for the occasional times when I wish I had something, I do rely on her to help. But even before that, I didn't feel COMPELLED to renew. YMMV

                    1. I subscribe to CI in print and online, and I like both. I don't save the magazines and I haven't bought their cookbooks, so the website is the place I go when I want a recipe (I've found some real keepers there--the quiche Lorraine and the pecan pie are both stellar). I also like to read their reviews when I'm shopping for brand-name ingredients or gadgets.

                      1. Update- I've definitely decided to keep my monthly web membership; I love it! I've used a couple of recipes from it so far, gnocchi and pancakes, and they were both great- best pancakes I've ever made! In the week and a half since I signed up for it, I find myself going there for basic ideas/ recipes, and knowing that they are most likely going to be already tried and true.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          In that case I would urge you to switch to the annual online subscription - it's about half the price. I agree with posters above that it's doesn't seem right that print subscribers have to pay as well for the online subscription, but it's worth it to be able to search the full website, for recipes form before I started subscribing and even to be able to track down recipes since then rather than paging back through many issues.

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            Duh- thank you! I'm so naive- I kept thinking $3.95 a month isn't very much, but hello, add that one up! ;-) I just switched over!

                        2. I thought about this, too. all I wanted was the Blackout Cake recipe. I'm kinda thinking once they have your credit card #, it might me tricky to cancel (having had trouble before with other companies). so I didn't even try the free trial.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: howboy

                            Yes, you do need to be careful on this. If you take the trial montlhy subscription just to get one recipe, after that 2-week freebie period has passed they WILL charge your credit card every month till you unsubscribe.

                            However, the time I got stuck on that (several years ago) I had no trouble getting unsubscribed once I took the trouble to go online and do so (it was one of those cases where I went through a couple of months of forgetting all about it till I got my credit card bill and there was that pesky little charge again.)

                          2. I have done the monthly thing and cancelled then renewed countless times. It has never been any trouble to cancel. I just do it online, very easy. I got an email for a special rate of 12 or 14 something for a year. I jumped on it, and I have loved it!

                            1. I used to subscribe to Cooks' Illustrated for a couple of years, and also the yearly subscription to the website. I think their recipes and research of recipes/foods are very good and also very useful......HOWEVER, I find them money-hungry. They do not like to give much of a consideration to the fact that you are already a customer. I find them "snobbish" and "ours is the right way" attitude on their TV shows. So, I look at other sources that can give me just about the same information. The internet and Google are a great help. It just takes a little more research on my part to find what you want to find! While watching their show I keep pencil and paper handy to catch some of the information.

                              I realize that it must cost a great deal of money to staff and do all of that research in America's Test Kitchen, but I also feel sure that they are not "hurting" financially and could be a bit more relenting when it comes to regular and faithful customers.